Nobody likes to get complaints. They make you question your judgment, they can ruin your day, and they almost always leave you in a bad mood. But what if I told you that complaints are actually a good thing?
Really! I’m not kidding. Complaints are one of the best forms of research you can perform. Complaints are also one of the best sources for new product/service ideas.
How so? Most people who complain are upset. When people get upset, they are more likely to speak their minds. Most people who complain also like to tell you exactly what you’ve done wrong and tell you how they would do it better. While your customers’ attitudes may not be something to look forward to, their hidden suggestions are!
Let’s look at this complaint:
“I can’t believe you are sending these huge files through email! How ridiculous can a person be!? That clogs up the emails of those of us who are not on a super fast connection for ages. I don’t have time for this. You know, if you had a brain in your head, you’d know about XYZ.com. They burn CDs for about $0.30 each and will ship them to your customers for about $1.00 each. Anybody can afford that price. I’ve deleted your email. When you decide to operate like a real business and send me a CD, I’ll look at it.”
Yes? it’s a harsh email. But most people who complain don’t have very good manners, now do they? But take away the emotion. Take away the temper. Take away the insults, and what do you have left? A very good resource for CDs!
This person has just given you a resource that can:
(a) solve your problem with huge downloads
(b) be a new product to sell (CDs as well as downloadable files)
(c) offer you a solution that can benefit you and your customers
All for free!
How about the complaints that say, “You know, you really ought to?” Well? Maybe you really ought to. Have you thought about the customer’s suggestion? Yes, it was probably hidden beneath a pile of profane words and threats? but look deeper. In all honesty, is this unruly customer doing you a favor?
It happens more often than you might think. People, in general, have a bad habit of trying to show those they are upset with how big and bad they are. More times than not, you’ll get great ideas buried inside a wrapper of rudeness.
The next time you get a complaint, unwrap the package, and you just might find that the complaint is a blessing in disguise. If you remove the ugliness from the message, you could very well have some terrific ideas for improving or expanding your business!.
About the Author
Diane Hughes writes about customer service and other topics and is the owner of ProBizTips.